Concert Reviews

Concert Withdrawal, Be Gone!

  • Posted on April 15, 2020 at 8:00 am

Does anybody else feel like it’s been way too long since they’ve attended a concert? I sure do, so I was thrilled to find Godsey Media’s HopeSings Concerts During Crisis. These are concerts that you can watch online. They are charging $20 per ticket, but your money is going to help artists who have been out of work for six weeks or so while the country has been locked down. Since I make much of my income traveling and doing events, I understand how difficult this time is and how much more so for groups that support several households through singing. This is not a time to think, “I can watch videos for free on YouTube.” This is a time to support your favorite groups so that they can continue to sing once the ban is lifted. Plus they would like to keep eating and paying bills before then.

I realize a lot of people are without work now, but if you still have money coming in and have some extra to share, I hope that you will check out the schedule and support one or more of the groups or artists who will be performing. For instance, tonight the Nelons will be giving a concert at 7:00. Then Saturday will feature Triumphant. On Sunday, Riley Harrison Clark, Gene McDonald, and their Surprise Quartet will be performing. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. One thing I like about this approach is that the artists aren’t just asking for money. They are willing to perform to an empty room while giving you a concert like you would expect to see in a concert hall.

Don’t forget to pray for these artists too. Many are feeling the strain of this time, so if you can’t support them financially, you can still lift them up to the Father and ask Him to give them strength and encourage their hearts. I’m so thankful to serve a God who has promised to meet all of our needs, many times using Brothers and Sisters in Christ to do just that. If you do watch some of these concerts, I’d love to know who you saw and how they ministered to you. God bless you all!

Concert Review: The Hoppers (8/23/18)

  • Posted on October 9, 2018 at 3:46 pm

The Hoppers 2

I first saw the Hoppers in August of 1990. A man who had tuned our piano asked if my brother and I would like to go with him to a concert, and I jumped at the opportunity! Mostly I was impressed that the man had kept his word that he would take me to a concert sometime. Too many people say things like that but never follow through. Although I have seen them a number of times since, I never tire of watching Claude, Connie, Dean, Kim, Mike, and Karlye sing.

The Hoppers 3

Six weeks ago, I had the opportunity to see them again. Only this time, it was my dad that went with me. My dad is not a southern gospel fan and used to make fun of the music, so I was very blessed when he seemed to be enjoying himself. He even cracked up at Claude’s jokes. I smiled.

The Hoppers 4

The concert began with Dean, Kim, Karlye, and Mike singing Life Is Good, If We Ever Gotta Look and God Already Knew. I don’t remember when Claude and Connie joined them, but I think it was on Yahweh. Gary Prim accompanied them on the piano. That is a name I’ve seen on recordings but I don’t believe I had ever seen him in person.

The Hoppers 1

They sang God Bless the USA and then sang a few songs off of their latest project which was published by Gaither Music: I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for my Journey, After a While, and Lord, Lead Me On. Connie then sang I’ve Come Too Far, after which they continued with Yes I Am, Jerusalem, and Something’s Happening. Karlye sang My Ransom, and they ended with Shouting Time.

Karlye

 

Kim had a bit of laryngitis which affected her speaking but not her singing. She did a great job.

NQC 2016 Highlights: Day 7

  • Posted on October 8, 2016 at 10:50 pm

Saturday was another full day at the National Quartet Convention.

The highlights of the morning showcase were Abby Paskvan and The Hoskins Family.

The Song of a Lifetime Showcase featured:

The Jim Brady Trio – “Stepping Out in Faith”
Mark Trammell Quartet – “I’ll take it to the Grave”Triumphant Quartet – I Belong to Jesus
Joseph Habedank – I’ve Never Seen the Righteous Forsaken
Tim Lovelace – Bend in the River of Life
David Sapp – There is a River
Phil Cross – When I Get Carried Away
Triumphant Quartet – Saved by Grace

This last song was in honor of Carroll McGruder who passed away last year.

The Blackwood Brothers took the stage on Saturday, and I was surprised to see Mike Helwig in a wheelchair. Billy Blackwood said that Mike has been diagnosed with ALS. This made his rendition of “The Love of God” even more powerful. People often struggle to accept God’s love during difficult circumstances but Mike made the song come alive. I’m sure there were a lot of tears as he sang.

The Sneed Family sang “Hallelujah Square.”

The Erwins were very good. This was their second year at NQC. The best song from their set was called “I Choose to be a Christian.”

Ed O’Neal honored Les Beasley with Josh Garner singing “When He Was on the Cross (I Was on His Mind).”

My brother is not a southern gospel music fan but, when Hope Bowling sang, “How Can it Be?,” he was impressed. That’s saying something. Kathy Crabb Hannah played piano for the Bowling Sisters as they sang, “At the Cross.”

Gordon Mote co-hosted the evening but he also got his own set. He played and sang, “Power in the Blood,” “Just a Closer Walk,” “Only Jesus Can Heal This Hurting World,” and “America the Beautiful” (backed up by the Voices of Lee).

The Perrys sang “The Holy Shore” and “I Wish I Could Have Been There,” two of my favorites!

The Mark Trammell Quartet sang requests they’d received. These included “The King is Coming” and “My Faith Still Holds.”

Marla Henry joined the Jim Brady Trio to sing Consider the Lilies.

Tribute sang some songs off of their new CD. My favorite was “When the Prodigal Comes Home,” featuring Riley Harrison Clark.

Triumphant Quartet’s pianist sang “Hello Mama.” I love that song more now than ever. Scotty Inman sang, “Somebody Died for Me.”

Lauren Talley sang a song she gets a lot of requests for, “Broken Ones.” “If everybody loved like He does, there’d be a lot less broken ones.”

Gerald Wolfe felt like his voice wasn’t up to par so he brought Mark Trammell on stage to sing with them. They sang, “When They Ring the Bells of Heaven,” “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” and “My Name is Lazarus,” with Mark singing Gerald’s verse. That was cool! (Sorry Gerald.)

For the finale, the Jim Brady Trio sang, “Stepping Out in Faith” and Triumphant sang, “We’re Almost Home.”

That concludes my NQC coverage. I hope to get some of my thoughts down on a variety of subjects next week. I’ll see how it goes. Have a blessed Sunday!

 

NQC 2016 Highlights: Day 6

  • Posted on October 8, 2016 at 4:56 pm

A day without prayer is a wasted day.

Don’t tell me you love Jesus if you never talk to Him.

Two great quotes by Dr. Steven Gaines during his devotion last Friday morning.

Quarteto Gileade is a quartet from Brazil. I think the highlight was when they sang “The Hallelujah Chorus.” As you probably know, “hallelujah” is said the same in every language so, although they sang in their native language, even if you had never heard this song before, you would know that they were praising the Lord.

I’m not real familiar with The Hyssongs but they started their set with a trumpet duet of the song of worship, “Majesty.” Very good

Friday afternoon, there was a Vintage Quartet Showcase. It included:

The Dixie Echoes (with Josh Singletary on piano)–“Bye and Bye,” “I’d Rather Have Jesus.”
Legacy Five–“Grand and Glorious Feeling,” “Life Will Be Sweeter Some Day.”
Mark Trammell Quartet (with Gerald Wolfe on piano)–“Echoes from the Burning Bush,” “Leave Your Sorrows and Come Along.”
Second Half Quartet–“Going Up,” “Wonderful Grace of Jesus.”

Each group imitated the old days where there were only 2 microphones on stage.

After that, Dr. Jeremiah talked about the history of revival. It was quite interesting. I will probably go back and listen to that again on the archives.

There was then a break before the evening concerts.

Freedom Quartet got Gerald Wolfe to play piano with them on “The Love of God” and “He’ll Pilot Me.” They ended again with their latest single, “I Am a Christian.” I really like their sound. Tight harmony.

The Kingsmen sang “Stand Up,” featuring their tenor, Josh Horrell.

It would have been Jackie Wilburn’s 79th birthday on Friday so it was fitting that Wilburn and Wilburn were performing that evening. They sang, “The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference,” “Shoulders” (in honor of Jackie), “You Asked Him to Leave,” and “I’m Rich.”

The Webbs sang, “Days of Elijah.”

This was Joseph Habedank’s first time on stage as a solo artist. He sang The Perry’s song, “If You Knew Him.”

The Hoppers were one of my favorites last week. Every time they took the stage, I paid attention. Their new CD has some great songs on it. I will definitely be looking to get a copy for review.

Karen Peck and New River ended the evening.

NQC 2016 Highlights: Day 5

  • Posted on October 4, 2016 at 9:19 pm

I realize that NQC is over but I thought I would go ahead and finish posting the highlights according to Sony Elise. 🙂

Mark Trammell led devotions on Thursday and talked on the subject of peace. I especially liked his statement: “We live outside of peace because of our own decisions and choices. It’s not the world’s fault; it’s ours.” In context, he was talking about how we refuse to give our burdens to Jesus and insist on carrying them ourselves. We will never find peace if we do that.

Jason Crabb sang some old Crabb Family favorites: “Please Forgive Me,” “Come Down to Me,” and “Through the Fire.” He also did a medley of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” “Meeting in the Air,” and “I’ll Fly Away.”

Rodney Griffin sang the Cathedral’s song, “The Prodigal Son” with the Second Half Quartet. If I hadn’t been paying attention, I would have probably thought it was Glen Payne singing.

The Booth Brothers sang one of my favorites, “Still Feeling Fine.” They were joined on the last chorus by The Collingsworth Family and Jim Brady.

Ronny Hinson was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame. He said that they only thing he would change in his life were the times that Ronny got in the way of God.

The Perrys sang “Keep On.” I am blessed by Troy Peach every time he preaches in between songs. His message is always right on and just what I need to hear.

Gerald Wolfe talked about the impression we leave on the lives of others. In his life was a man named Merle Hahn. (Not sure about the spelling of the last name.) He said, “You are a Merle Hahn to someone and, if you’re not, you oughtta be.” Wow. Then they sang “Faces.” “No matter how small the task, you did just as I asked.” That is all God asks of us: to be faithful in whatever He calls us to, no matter how small.”

Mark Trammell Quartet ended their set that night with “My Faith Still Holds.” “And though the end of things I cannot see, I choose to place my trust in Calvary.”

The Primitive Quartet sang, “Walking in the Highway,” one of my favorites that they do. I love watching Randy’s enthusiasm, which doesn’t wane regardless of how many times he sings that song.

The Nelons sang, “Then Came the Morning.”

In the Kingdom Heirs’ set, Arthur Rice said, “It’s not about us; it’s about Him. It’s not about what we can bear but what He can bear.” God can use people who realize that.

NQC 2016 Highlights: Day 4

  • Posted on September 30, 2016 at 4:52 pm

Wednesday was another great day at the National Quartet Convention.

Eric Bennett did the devotional, reminding us that “we are nothing more than a good looking pile of dust without Christ.” He talked about how much money we spend on ourselves, making sure we look good and are taken well care of when, in reality, we are worth very little. The only good in us is the good that God instills in us. A very good message.

I was pleased to see Greg Cook singing with Ricky Atkinson. I’ve not heard anything from him in years. He sang, “When He Was on the Cross.”

McCray Dove joined Ed O’Neill and the Dixie Melody Boys on stage to promote their “Together Again” tour. Josh Garner sang lead on “The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow.” Then Ed let the New Dove Brothers sing a song. The group consists of McCray Dove, Tony Peace, and Wesley Smith. They ended the set with both groups singing a song that hit the charts in the 1980s: “Ride That Glory Cloud.” Eric Ollis joined them on stage to play the piano on that song.

Goodman Revival was not on the schedule but they took the stage to sing “I Hold a Clear Title” and “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now.”

I love the Hoppers song: “Life is good ’cause God is. Life is good ’cause I’m His.” They also sang “I’ve Come Too Far,” “Yes I Am,” “Jerusalem,” and a reprise of “Life is Good.”

Lari Goss was inducted into the SGMA Hall of Fame. His wife Carolyn and brother Ronnie accepted the award.

Daywind had a special segment with several of their artists. They played videos of each group imitating another group. Very funny. After Legacy Five, Tribute, and Wilburn & Wilburn sang their sets, five groups each sang an extra song. They are as follows:

Second Half Quartet: Boundless Love
The Hoppers: Jesus, the One
Tribute Quartet: Good News from Jerusalem
Wilburn & Wilburn: You Asked Him to Leave
Legacy Five: Christ is Still the King

The Browns closed the evening, including in their set “Place in the Choir” and “Didn’t it Rain.”

NQC 2016 Highlights: Day 3

  • Posted on September 29, 2016 at 11:28 am

Tuesday was a great day at the National Quartet Convention. Rick and Phyllis Webb shared in the chapel service, with Karen Peck and New River doing the music.

Scotty Searan, a faithful reader to my blog, asked me to share songs from each group that were especially encouraging. I hadn’t planned to do as much of that this year but there were a lot of great songs sung the other night that I do plan to mention quite a few.

Freedom Quartet kicked off the evening and could not have done a better job. The group consists of John Rulapaugh, Burman Porter, Dale Shipley, and Preston Garner. They started with “God Rides on Wings of Love” then went on to sing “I’m Free Again” and “I Am a Christian.” This last song resulted in a standing ovation.

I am pretty sure The Littles were on the main stage last year, but I didn’t remember what they sounded like. They did an excellent job on a medley of “Shout to the Lord” and “How Great Thou Art.” Then they sang an a cappella medley of “Down by the Riverside” and “I Am Bound for the Promised Land.”

My favorite Primitive Quartet songs were an instrumental of “He Looked Beyond My Fault” and an a cappella version of “My Hope is in the Blood.” This made me really miss Norman Wilson.

Mark Bishop sang a song I’d not heard before: “Pray on the Little Days.” It really spoke to me. If you’ve not heard it, I encourage you to check it out. “Let God be God in the best of times and He’ll be God in the worst of times.”

Jim Brady sang “Every Cry,” a song he wrote for his sister who was dying of cancer. “He lovingly cares for His children. Let His love be the strength that you need.”

The Kingdom Heirs sang “Four Days,” with Loren Harris on lead. By request, Jerry Martin sang, “I Can Pray.” Arthur Rice said people keep telling them how good they are. Wait another couple weeks, and they’ll be really good. Loren Harris has only been with them about five days.

Carroll McGruder was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Since Carroll has gone on to be with the Lord, the award was accepted by his son Eric, daughter Shawnee, and widow Sharon. Eric said his dad always talked about pulling up on those behind you and pushing on those ahead of you. He encouraged the audience to do just that.

Libbi Perry Stuffle sang LaBreeska Hemphill’s song, “Let the Blood of Calvary Speak for Me.” The Perrys ended their set with “Calvary Answers for Me.”

Triumphant Quartet did a great job on “This Blood.” They ended their set with Eric leading the congregation in singing “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus.”

The Booth Brothers and Collingsworth Family did a set together. I was very touched when Michael Booth said to Jim Brady from the stage: “I know you’re not perfect but I know that, if I follow you, I’ll be following Christ.” Wow. There is no greater honor than for someone to say that to another. That is why we’re here: to point others to the Lord.

The Booth Brothers got a standing ovation for “Then I Met the Master.” Then they sang “Life’s Railway to Heaven” with the Collingsworth Family. The Collingsworth Family brought their 22-month-old granddaughter on stage to join them for “Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness.”

I know people complain about too much talking during concerts but I find that the greatest blessings for me come when someone shares something that God has laid on their heart. Often it’s Michael Booth, and he said some things Tuesday that spoke to me, but Kim Collingsworth shared a bit too. She was talking about how music has rests and then turned it around to apply to life. “In times of rest, we think God has brought us to the end of our song. God doesn’t write the music without a plan. Our job is to keep going and not give up.” I’ve had several times in life where I’ve felt my song was done, and I tend to get depressed during those times. It’s encouraging to know that what seems like the end to us is not the end to God. The fact that we are still alive is proof that God is still writing the music of our lives. Sometimes we need to rest so that we can refuel, draw close to Him, and allow Him to use us more than ever before.

Kim Collingsworth played “My Tribute” as well as I have ever seen her play. The Booth Brothers and Collingsworth Family then sang “Jesus Saves” with Jim Brady.

Sheri Easter shared some things I’ve been pondering as well: “If we knew how loved we are, we would treat each other kindly.”

The evening ended with Jeremy Peace and the LeFevre Quartet singing, “O What a Savior.”

I have a lot to write about yesterday, but it’s almost time for today’s showcase so I’ll have to write it later. Thank you for taking the time to read my reports.

 

NQC 2016 Highlights: Day 2

  • Posted on September 27, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Yesterday was my sister’s last day here so I missed the beginning of the program but it was hosted by Jim Brady and Karen Peck Gooch.

Every time the Hoppers take the stage, I think about what a blessing it is that Claude and Connie Hopper are still able to travel and sing. This has been a rough year for them with Claude’s stroke and Connie’s battle with cancer but they continue to give God all the glory. The most touching moment of the evening was Claude singing the last verse of “Never Grow Old” to Connie. So fitting for two people who have spent the majority of their lives serving the Lord together.

Peg McKamey Bean was inducted into the Southern Gospel Hall of Fame. She didn’t have much to say except to thank everyone.

Ernie Haase and Signature Sound were not my favorite group on the platform last night, but Ernie did sing “O What a Savior” and nailed it once again.

I am always glad to see Squire Parsons on the stage. NQC is the only time I get to hear him but he can still sing, as can his son, Samuel. They did a great job!

I was really looking forward to seeing The Kingdom Heirs with Loren Harris. I am very happy to see him back on the NQC stage and hope to catch every one of their sets this week.

The Second Half Quartet sang again last night, and I enjoyed them even more than I did Sunday night. It was even more fun watching Gerald Wolfe getting blessed listening to them and playing the piano.

Gold City ended the evening with some of their old standbys. I’ve not kept up with them since Tim Riley retired but theirs is a group I want to start watching once again.

National Quartet Convention 2016 Highlights: Day 1

  • Posted on September 27, 2016 at 12:45 pm

I debated as to whether or not I should post convention highlights this year and was actually leaning against it. What is a highlight to me may or may not be to you, and I don’t know how interesting it is to read my pared down list of things. There is also the fact that it can be hard to find time to post every day which makes me wonder if it is worth it. This morning, however, I decided I will go ahead and post fewer “highlights” than usual but I will post some things that I feel are of special note to give you a brief glimpse into the happenings. I assume that those who find these kinds of posts boring will just skip reading this week but, for those of you who are not at the convention, you may enjoy reading about it. I am not at the convention myself but I’m watching online, and I have already been blessed!

Sunday night was the kickoff with The Hoppers, Greater Vision, Legacy Five, The Mark Trammell Quartet, and The Jim Brady Trio. Each group sang 2 sets, going about 15-20 minutes each. The Hoppers and Legacy Five featured more of their newer songs. I especially want to get the Hopper’s CD. It sounds very good.

The night was interspersed by piano solos from Josh Singletary and Tim Lovelace. Tim did a segment which included a variety of styles of music from the rhythmic playing of Hovie Lister to the soul of Ray Charles. He also featured some African American church music, as well as some classical and an imitation of what you may see when a new, young southern gospel player comes on the scene. Tim and Josh later did a duet on the piano of “Just a Closer Walk,”

At the end of Legacy Five’s set, they played a clip of the Cathedrals with George Younce giving Scott Fowler a hard time. This was my first time to hear Josh Feemster with Legacy Five. He did a wonderful job, ending with “He Made a Change.” I also enjoyed watching them sing “The Hallelujah Chorus.”

Replacing Tim Parton with the Jim Brady Trio is 23-year-old Layke Jones from Anderson, Indiana. In their second set, Jim’s sister Marla Henry joined them to sing a song. I grew up listening to the Brady family sing so this was a special treat for me. Jim talked a bit about losing his dad and sister and Melissa’s mom, all in the last year. They then went on to sing “That Sounds Like Home to Me.” This brought tears to my eyes. I’m sure everyone reading this has someone that has gone ahead. The older I get, the more songs like this become precious.

Claude Hopper talked a bit about the coming election and the state of our country. It seems most people put the emphasis on voting so I was surprised when he emphasized prayer and the importance of praying for our leaders. He encouraged everyone to pray about who to vote for but he said he is praying that they get saved because, if that happens, everything else will work out. Thank you, Brother Claude, for reminding us of what is truly important.

Usually at the convention, a few groups will go over, causing the evenings to end later than planned. Sunday night, they ended up being ahead of schedule so they threw in a bonus group: Second Half Quartet. The group sang “Standing on Holy Ground” and “Wedding Music.”

NQC 2015 Highlights: Day 6

  • Posted on October 4, 2015 at 2:04 pm

The last night of the National Quartet Convention was the best yet. The Jim Brady Trio kicked off the evening once again.

The Bowling Sisters did a splendid job on “If That Isn’t Love.” It was neat seeing Mike and Kelly Bowling get blessed as they watched their girls harmonize on that song.

Greater Vision did all requests which included: “I Know a Man Who Can,” “Put Out the Fire,” “Preacher, Tell Me Like It Is,” and “‘Til the Storm Passes By.” Gerald Wolfe cried as he sang this song, and I was crying along with Him. This is such a timely song for a lot of people.

Libbi Stuffle of The Perrys sang, “I Claim the Blood.” I cried during this song too, as I know this is even more meaningful to her now. I used to listen to Labreeska Hemphill sing this back in the 1980s so I was very happy to hear it again. Libbi did a great job. The Perrys’ message is not one of grief but of hope. It is summed up in the lyrics of their song which says, “Keep on. Be brave. Hold fast. Have faith. Pray hard. Fear not. Stay strong. Keep on.”

Karen Peck and New River sang, “We Shall Wear a Crown” with The Whisnants, Devin McGlamery, and Eric Bennett. I still enjoy hearing that song. It was fun watching Ricky Braddy, as he obviously loves it too.

The evening ended with different groups singing one of their number one songs. Songs sung are as follows:

The Whisnants: “I’ll Pray For You”
Mark Trammell Quartet: “That’s Enough For Me to Know”
Karen Peck and New River: “Four Days Late”
Triumphant Quartet: “Saved By Grace”
Greater Vision: “My Name Is Lazarus”
Ernie Haase and Signature Sound: “Get Away Jordan”

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